The Hate Crimes Task Force of the New York Police Department has asked for the public’s help in locating an individual who viciously struck an Asian woman in the head with a hammer after the attacker demanded that she and her friend remove their face masks.
Investigators posted a disturbing video of the confrontation Sunday in Midtown Manhattan when the attacker, who appeared to be a woman dressed in black, demanded that the two Asian pedestrians take off their masks.
“She was talking to herself ... I thought maybe she was drunk or something, so we just wanted to pass her quickly,” the 31-year-old victim, who was identified only as Theresa, told ABC-TV Channel 7 in New York.
“When I passed her, she saw us and said, ‘Take off your f**king mask,’ which is shocking. Suddenly I felt my head get hit by something.”
Theresa was rushed to a hospital, where she needed stitches for a gash to her forehead and another cut on her head, according to ABC.
“My mom actually told me, ‘Please be careful, there’s a lot of Asian crime happening in America,’” Theresa said. The recent graduate of Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology plans to go back to Taiwan now. If the right job comes along, she said, she’ll move back to New York when it’s safer.
Asian hate crimes skyrocketed 150% in the nation’s largest cities last year over the previous year, according to a recent study, after former President Donald Trump repeatedly blamed the Chinese for COVID-19 and referred to the pandemic as the “Chinese virus” and the “kung flu.”
The problem has been particularly pronounced in New York City, which recorded 28 anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, compared with only three in 2019.
In March, an elderly Asian woman was knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly by a male passer-by who shouted slurs at her outside a Manhattan apartment building. The attack was captured on a security camera that also showed building employees watching the assault and closing the door rather than trying to intervene.